The Big Cheese

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Microhire’s James Keane

This week, we caught up with James Keane, director of partnerships at Microhire, to find out how he’s been faring amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are you reading?

I am currently reading China: An Epic Novel by Edward Rutherford. It’s a great informative piece of fiction that really brings alive the country and its people in the 18th century. It’s a really brilliant read.

What are you watching?

Up until last week, I had a huge Olympic-shaped hole in my viewing schedule. I watched a lot of it, especially the soccer. It’s been a great distraction from lockdowns – bring on the Paralympics!

What are you listening to?

I am currently listening to Sidney Rose – she’s a Melbourne singer-songwriter with a hauntingly brilliant voice. She is really talented, and I have been recommending her to everyone.

What are you cooking?

My signature dish is salmon pot pie. I make it a lot in winter and it’s a family favourite – warming, hearty and delicious. It’s a good meal to get the family all around the table.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

I am a soccer coach for a local girls’ team. I am passionate about playing the sport and not many people know that I played professionally when I was younger. I love coaching and helping to inspire a new generation to love the game like I do.

What’s the one thing keeping you sane?

Soccer is keeping me sane. Playing, reading, watching and coaching it. I am obsessed.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

The compassion we have for those that have been hit harder by this crisis than us. Seeing people buying from small businesses and ensuring that they continue to support local cafés and restaurants who are doing it hard is so good to see.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

That my family is the most important thing to me. Spending time with my immediate family without the everyday pressures of needing to be at a certain place at a certain time has been something to remember.

It’s not been easy being unable to see my extended family who are all around the globe. I don’t think we will ever take the normal things like meeting up with them for granted again.

What’s your advice for others in the MICE industry on coping with the crisis?

Keep busy, active and positive as much as you can. Check in with colleagues regularly and make sure they are okay. It’s a tough time for everyone, and I think a bit of humanity and compassion goes a long way.